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Anatomy of the Perfect Salad

Anatomy of the Perfect Salad | French Culture & Lifestyle Blog | A Taste of Paris

It’s officially salad season, the time of year when none of us feel like heating the kitchen with boiling pots and blistering ovens.

I’m going to share the recipe for my gorgeous BLT salad you see pictured on this board and we will also take a look back at some of my all-time favorite salads (click the photo for recipe link).

Students that attend my cooking classes have told me for many years that I make the BEST salads!

What a huge compliment!

I eat a ton of salads; almost every single day for lunch, and over the years, a formula for the ideal salad has emerged. Salads that satisfy and make you want to keep digging in for another bite.

So what is the Anatomy of the Perfect Salad?

The secret is a combination of flavors and textures that will keep interest high. Hit at least 5 of these flavors and/or textures and you’ll have a salad winner! Honestly it is as simple at that!

Because foods have both a flavor and a texture, they cross over on the lists. When creating your salad, choose ingredients from different subtopics. For example, a salad with only tart ingredients, will taste sour and you’ll tire of it quickly. The same is true of sweet or crunchy ingredients. Have you ever had a salad where all of the toppings were sweet? It’s hard to have more than a few bites.

Textured Toppings

Crispy- cabbage, shredded carrots, radish, onion, cucumber

Chrunchy- nuts, bacon, apples, fried noodles, fried onions

Chewy- raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried apricots, grilled chicken, seafood

Juicy- tomatoes, fresh berries, olives, stone fruits, citrus fruits

Creamy- cheese, dressings, avocado

Topping Flavors

Tangy- Dressings, tomatoes

Salty- bacon, meat, cheese, salted nuts, cured meats

Sweet- dried and fresh fruit, candied nuts, grilled corn

Tart- green apples, dried cranberries, olives, citrus fruits, pickled, pickled onions

Fatty- bacon, cheese, sausage, nuts

Spicy- peppers, spiced nuts, black pepper, hot sauce

For the very best salads, always start with a bed of beautiful fresh greens and when you can, make your own dressings. The bottled variety have so many preservatives and additive.

To make a French-style vinaigrette, just start with a tablespoon of honey and Dijon mustard in the bottom of a salad bowl, whisk in red wine vinegar, and then olive oil, 1/4-1/3 cup of each. Add salt and pepper and taste. If it’s too tangy, add a bit more honey to balance it and you are ready to dress those crispy greens!

BLT Salad

3 medium heads of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped

8 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks

1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes

1 avocado, cut into strips

¼ red onion cut into slices

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

Blue Cheese Dressing

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, pressed

1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl, whisk to combine, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Arrange salad greens on a large serving platter.  Add remaining ingredients and serve with dressing on the side or drizzled on top.

I’d love to hear from you, tell me your favorite salad combinations in the comments below!

Order your Bastille day Basket AND Join me for an upcoming Cooking Class!

Bastille Day Baskets 2023 ON SALE NOW Limited number available

Pick-Up- Friday, July 14th 10:00-6:30 PM and Saturday, July 15th 10:00-5:00 pm. Planning a Bastille Day celebration or simply a unique date experience?  My French Picnic Baskets are a literal feast and perfect to delight your sweetheart or special friends.  Pick up baskets at your desired time and enjoy a picnic in the park or as the French do, on the carpet! C’est Magnifique!! Each French READ MORE AND PURCHASE

Lemon Ice in frozen lemons Positano Dreams

Positano Dreams- Friday, July 28th 10:30-2:30 In Positano the saying goes…” When life gives you lemons, make a Limoncello Spritzer.” After being captivated by the Amalfi coast, it’s beauty, warm people and outstanding food, I’ll strive to inspire you to make warm memories in your homes with these outstanding dishes from this impressive region. We’ll kick off the fun by learning to make Homemade Limoncello and we will craft Limoncello Spritzers, ideal for sipping on for hours on end!  READ MORE AND REGISTER

Let's Eat

Let’s Eat!  Thursday, August 10th 6:00-9:30 You’ve got to eat, why not make dishes that are as beautiful as they are tasty.  Dinner does not have to be boring that’s for sure!  This class is all about inspiration and with 3 main course dishes, you will have plenty to work with as we head into cooking-season.  For our cocktail, guests will have a choice, of Whisky Homemade Lemonade or Vodka Homemade Lemonade both taste outstanding and are simple to make.  We will start the cooking READ MORE AND REGISTER

See you soon!!!

XO Lorie


Reader interactions

2 Replies to “Anatomy of the Perfect Salad”

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Lorie Fangio | A Taste of Paris

Meet Lorie Fangio

Lorie Fangio is a teaching chef and the founder of A Taste of Paris culinary excursions. She shares her extensive knowledge of French food & culture through cooking classes, regular TV appearances, local publications, and speaking engagements. She is an award-winning food & lifestyle blogger with a zest for gathering people around a table.

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